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    Subject Term: Crime

    11 publications with a total of 23 open recommendations including 5 priority recommendations
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help identify what domestic CVE efforts are to achieve and the extent to which investments in CVE result in measureable success, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General--as heads of the two lead agencies responsible for coordinating CVE efforts--should direct the CVE Task Force to develop a cohesive strategy that includes measurable outcomes for CVE activities.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, CVE Task Force officials stated that they are identifying concrete outputs and outcomes for CVE efforts outlined in the 2016 Strategic Implementation Plan. CVE Task Force officials also stated that they plan to develop short-term, medium-term, and long-term outcomes for these efforts. The Task Force plans to report to the White House Homeland Security Advisor on their implementation progress in January 2018. GAO will continue to monitor the CVE Task Force's progress in this area.
    Recommendation: To help identify what domestic CVE efforts are to achieve and the extent to which investments in CVE result in measureable success, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General--as heads of the two lead agencies responsible for coordinating CVE efforts--should direct the CVE Task Force to develop a cohesive strategy that includes measurable outcomes for CVE activities.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, CVE Task Force officials stated that they are identifying concrete outputs and outcomes for CVE efforts outlined in the 2016 Strategic Implementation Plan. CVE Task Force officials also stated that they plan to develop short-term, medium-term, and long-term outcomes for these efforts. The Task Force plans to report to the White House Homeland Security Advisor on their implementation progress in January 2018. GAO will continue to monitor the CVE Task Force's progress in this area.
    Recommendation: To help identify what domestic CVE efforts are to achieve and the extent to which investments in CVE result in measureable success, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General--as heads of the two lead agencies responsible for coordinating CVE efforts--should direct the CVE Task Force to establish and implement a process to assess overall progress in CVE, including its effectiveness.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, CVE Task Force officials stated that they have begun consulting with departments and agencies that have already invested in CVE program assessment and are developing a research-based framework for designing and assessing CVE metrics. The CVE Task Force plans to report to the White House Homeland Security Advisor on their implementation progress in January 2018. GAO will continue to monitor the CVE Task Force's progress in this area.
    Recommendation: To help identify what domestic CVE efforts are to achieve and the extent to which investments in CVE result in measureable success, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General--as heads of the two lead agencies responsible for coordinating CVE efforts--should direct the CVE Task Force to establish and implement a process to assess overall progress in CVE, including its effectiveness.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, CVE Task Force officials stated that they have begun consulting with departments and agencies that have already invested in CVE program assessment and are developing a research-based framework for designing and assessing CVE metrics. The CVE Task Force plans to report to the White House Homeland Security Advisor on their implementation progress in January 2018. GAO will continue to monitor the CVE Task Force's progress in this area.
    Director: Gretta L. Goodwin
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOJ is contributing to efforts to improve data collection and service provision to Native Americans, the Director of OVW should require grantees to report the number of human trafficking victims served using grant funding, and, as appropriate, the Native American status of those victims.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Office of Justice Programs: Violence Against Women Office
    Status: Open

    Comments: In responding to a draft of our report, DOJ agreed to require their grantees to report the number of human trafficking victims served, but did not agree to require them to track Native American status of those victims as appropriate, citing victim confidentiality and other reasons. In June 2017, following our report's publication, DOJ provided a status update, reporting that OVW already collects consolidated data on the number of American Indian and Alaska Native victims served who are victims of all crimes and it is in the process of revising grantee forms to collect information on the number of people served who are victims of sex trafficking. We continue to believe that collecting grantee information on both the number and Native American status of victims served is important and will continue to monitor implementation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOJ is contributing to efforts to improve data collection and service provision to Native Americans, the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs should direct OVC and OJJDP to require their grantees to report the number of human trafficking victims served using grant funding, and, as appropriate, the Native American status of those victims.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Office of Justice Programs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In responding to a draft of our report, DOJ agreed to require its grantees to report the number of human trafficking victims served, but did not agree to require them to track Native American status of those victims as appropriate, citing victim confidentiality and other reasons. In June 2017, following our report's publication, DOJ provided a status update, reporting that OJJDP human trafficking grantees will be required to report the number of human trafficking victims served, beginning with progress reports ending December 31, 2017, and that OJJDP will update applicable solicitations beginning in fiscal year 2018 to reflect this new measure. DOJ reported no new efforts from OVC, and maintained that it will not require grantees to report on the Native American status of their victims served using grant funding because of the concerns it cited initially. We continue to believe that collecting grantee information on both the number and Native American status of victims served is important and will continue to monitor implementation.
    Director: Gretta L. Goodwin
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To enhance the clarity and transparency of sexual violence data that is reported to the public, the Secretary of Education should direct the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Attorney General should direct the Director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics to make information on the acts of sexual violence and contextual factors that are included in their measurements of sexual violence publicly available. This effort could entail revising their definitions of key terms used to describe sexual violence so that the definitions match the measurements of sexual violence.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2016, OJP's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reported that beginning with reports and data files released in calendar year 2017, BJS plans to provide additional information on how sexual violence is defined, to ensure that the measures and definitions are clear and consistent, to improve understanding by users at all levels. Furthermore, BJS reported that they will provide definitions and the exact computer code used to construct the measures of sexual violence. Further, according to BJS, in October 2016 the Acting Director of BJS established an internal Rape and Sexual Assault working group tasked with assessing all BJS data collections; identifying any differences that may exist across data collection efforts; consulting with other federal agencies and subject matter experts; and making recommendations to the Acting Director of BJS to correct any issues identified. The working group met monthly through February 2017, and was comprised of a senior statistical advisor, a statistical policy advisor, and statistical staff from the Victimization Statistics, Corrections Statistics, and Institutional Research and Special Projects units within BJS. In August 2017, BJS officials reported that they are planning to release the 2016 Criminal Victimization Bulletin in late 2017 with additional information on the definition of sexual violence. Also the Rape and Sexual Assault working group provided a detailed set of recommendations to the BJS Acting Director and BJS has convened the working group to develop an implementation plan. BJS stated that their next update would be in early CY 2018 to allow for the release of the report and details on the implementation plan.
    Recommendation: To help lessen confusion among the public and policy makers regarding federal data on sexual violence, the Director of OMB should establish a federal interagency forum on sexual violence statistics. The forum should consider the broad range of differences across the data collection efforts to assess which differences enhance or hinder the overall understanding of sexual violence in the United States.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In March 2017, OMB stated that the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working together to conduct research on how data collection methodologies, including how questions are asked, affect the measurement of sexual violence in the context of each agency's programmatic needs. OMB reiterated that this research is not far enough along to warrant the investment of resources to establish a formal interagency working group. OMB stated that it has taken steps to enhance collaboration among the agencies, including facilitating discussion of data collection parameters that affect sexual violence reporting. This recommendation was included in the 2017 DOF report, and in August and September 2017, GAO reached out to OMB for the status on their efforts to address the recommendation. As of 9/18/17, OMB had not responded to inquiries.
    Director: Gretta L. Goodwin
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help the NICS Section achieve its mission to enhance national security and public safety by providing the timely and accurate determination of a person's eligibility to possess firearms, the Director of the FBI should monitor NICS check outcomes for specific categories of prohibited individuals to assess timeliness and provide this information to other DOJ entities for use in establishing priorities and tools to assist states in submitting more complete records for use during NICS checks.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Federal Bureau of Investigation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Diana C. Maurer
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to help ensure that ATF adheres to its policies and facilitates industry compliance with requirements, the Deputy Director of ATF should align the MS deletion policy, MS system design, and the timeliness of deletion practices to improve ATF's compliance with the policy.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2016, ATF reported that it deleted all purchaser names within those multiple sale records GAO identified as having been retained beyond time limits specified by ATF?s policy. In addition, ATF stated that it is in the process of implementing protocols to ensure that purging purchaser names within multiple sale records aligns with ATF policy. As of March 2017, ATF reported changing its query code to result in an improved match ratio with the MS system. In July 2017, ATF reiterated its deletion of affected purchaser names and its change in query code. However, given the longstanding nature of this issue, ATF needs to provide more documentation to demonstrate that the change in query code will identify all records eligible for deletion.
    Director: Diana C. Maurer
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To allow for more efficient use of data on missing and unidentified persons contained in the NCIC's Missing Persons and Unidentified Persons files and NamUs, the Directors of the FBI and NIJ should evaluate the feasibility of sharing certain information among authorized users, document the results of this evaluation, and incorporate, as appropriate, legally and technically feasible options for sharing the information.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Federal Bureau of Investigation
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In commenting on GAO's June 2016 report, DOJ disagreed with our recommendation, because DOJ believes it does not have the legal authority to fulfill the corrective action as described in the proposed recommendation. Specifically, DOJ stated that the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) does not qualify, under federal law, for access to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and is not an authorized user to receive NCIC data. Therefore, DOJ does not believe there is value in evaluating the technical feasibility of integrating these two databases. In March 2017, DOJ reiterated its position that any such sharing was prohibited by law. We understand the legal framework placed on NCIC and that it may be restricted from fully integrating with a public database. However, this statutory restriction does not preclude DOJ from exploring options to more efficiently share information within the confines of the current legal framework. Until DOJ studies whether such feasible mechanisms exist, it will be unable to make this determination, risking continued inefficiencies through fragmentation and overlap.
    Recommendation: To allow for more efficient use of data on missing and unidentified persons contained in the NCIC's Missing Persons and Unidentified Persons files and NamUs, the Directors of the FBI and NIJ should evaluate the feasibility of sharing certain information among authorized users, document the results of this evaluation, and incorporate, as appropriate, legally and technically feasible options for sharing the information.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Office of Justice Programs: National Institute of Justice
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In commenting on GAO's June 2016 report, DOJ disagreed with our recommendation, because DOJ believes it does not have the legal authority to fulfill the corrective action as described in the proposed recommendation. Specifically, DOJ stated that the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) does not qualify, under federal law, for access to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and is not an authorized user to receive NCIC data. Therefore, DOJ does not believe there is value in evaluating the technical feasibility of integrating these two databases. In March 2017, DOJ reiterated its position that any such sharing was prohibited by law. We understand the legal framework placed on NCIC and that it may be restricted from fully integrating with a public database. However, this statutory restriction does not preclude DOJ from exploring options to more efficiently share information within the confines of the current legal framework. Until DOJ studies whether such feasible mechanisms exist, it will be unable to make this determination, risking continued inefficiencies through fragmentation and overlap.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of DOD's strategy for preventing sexual assault in the military, as part of the department's next biennial update to the 2014-16 sexual-assault prevention strategy, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in conjunction with the Secretaries of the military departments, to link sexual-assault prevention activities with desired outcomes.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD action in progress. DOD is conducting assessments at large installations that reflect a cross-section of each of the service's cultures and result in the development of the 2017-2021 DOD Sexual Assault Prevention Plan of Action. According to department officials, the plan will link risks and protective factors.
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of DOD's strategy for preventing sexual assault in the military, as part of the department's next biennial update to the 2014-16 sexual-assault prevention strategy, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in conjunction with the Secretaries of the military departments, to identify risk and protective factors for all of its domains, including the military community and its leaders.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD action in progress. DOD is conducting assessments at large installations that reflect a cross-section of each of the service's cultures and will inform the development of the 2017-2021 DOD Sexual Assault Prevention Plan of Action. According to department officials, the plan will identify risk and protective factors for all domains, including military community and leaders.
    Recommendation: To help ensure widespread adoption and implementation of DOD's sexual-assault prevention strategy and to fulfill its role as a framework that can assist leaders and planners in the development of appropriate tasks, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in conjunction with the Secretaries of the military departments, to communicate and disseminate DOD's prevention strategy and its purpose to the appropriate levels of program personnel as well as their roles and responsibilities for its implementation.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD action in progress. According to DOD officials, DOD's 2017-2021 Sexual Assault Prevention Plan of Action will include a comprehensive communications roll-out plan to ensure every level of DOD understands its role in prevention.
    Recommendation: To help improve DOD's ability to measure the effectiveness of the department's efforts in preventing sexual assault in the military, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the Secretaries of the military departments, to fully develop the department's performance measures for the prevention of sexual assault so that the measures include all key attributes of successful performance measures.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD action in progress. DOD is conducting a feasibility assessment to identify metrics that will detect impacts of prevention efforts and show progress on reducing risk and prevalence of sexual assault. The results will be included in the 2017-2021 DOD Sexual Assault Prevention Plan of Action.
    Recommendation: To help ensure widespread adoption and implementation of DOD's sexual-assault prevention strategy and to fulfill its role as a framework that can assist leaders and planners in the development of appropriate tasks, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in conjunction with the Secretaries of the military departments, to ensure the military services' Sexual Assault Prevention and Response policies are aligned with the department's prevention strategy.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD action in progress. As part of its development of the department's 2017-2021 Sexual Assault Prevention Plan of Action, DOD is working to align military service sexual assault prevention policies with the department's overarching sexual assault prevention strategy.
    Director: Kimberly Gianopoulos
    Phone: (202)512-8612

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen agency performance measurement related to deterring child smuggling, the Secretary of Homeland Security should instruct DHS's U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to establish annual performance targets associated with the performance measures it has established for its Transnational Criminal Investigative Units.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on the report in July 2015, the Department of Homeland Security stated that it concurred with this recommendation, and that it would work with host nation partners to establish goals to measure these units' investigative activities and capacity development. In September 2015, DHS noted that it planned to use law enforcement data to measure TCIU success rates and inform efforts going forward. GAO has followed up with DHS--most recently in June 2017--on the status of its efforts to establish performance targets, but has not yet received a response.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Department of Justice effectively measures its efforts to address incarceration challenges, the Attorney General should explore additional data collection opportunities and modify its Smart on Crime indicators to incorporate key elements of successful performance measurement systems.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In August 2015, DOJ reported that it has taken steps to obtain new, more granular data elements that it hoped to incorporate into its indicators. However, DOJ also stated that it did not believe that measureable targets were appropriate for its Smart on Crime indicators because prosecutors need to make case by case decisions without regard to targets or concerns for any other incentive. As of October 2016, DOJ had not provided any updates on its progress addressing this recommendation to enhance performance measurement. Until DOJ provides this information, we cannot determine whether its efforts resulted in indicators that incorporate key elements of successful performance measurement systems. In March, 2017, DOJ noted that, due to a change in administration, the consequences of the Smart on Crime initiative are uncertain, and did not provide any further updates on its progress addressing our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Department of Justice effectively measures its efforts to address incarceration challenges, the Attorney General should direct the Office of the Pardon Attorney, in conjunction with the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, to (1) track how long it takes, on average, for commutation of sentence petitions to clear each step in the review process under DOJ's control, and (2) identify and address, to the extent possible, any processes that may contribute to unnecessary delays.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In August 2015, DOJ reported that tracking the steps of its review would not provide meaningful data because the Department prioritizes those cases for review that appear likely to meet the Clemency Initiative factors announced in April 2014. Nevertheless, DOJ stated that it agreed that identifying and addressing unnecessary delays in the review process is important, and that it has been regularly working to identify and address such delays. As of October 2016, DOJ had not provided any updates on its progress addressing this recommendation to better track and address any unnecessary delays. Until it does so, we cannot determine whether it is meeting the key goal of the new Clemency Initiative--to expeditiously identify and review especially meritorious petitions. In March 2017, DOJ noted that due to the accelerated clemency review process implemented in 2015, it currently has no standard process to evaluate, and did not provide any further updates on its progress in addressing our recommendation.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve disposition reporting that would help states update and complete criminal history records, the Director of the FBI should task the FBI Advisory Policy Board to establish a plan with time frames and milestones for achieving its Disposition Task Force's stated goals.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Federal Bureau of Investigation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better equip states to meet the regulatory requirement to notify individuals of their rights to challenge and update information in their criminal history records, and to ensure that audit findings are resolved, the Director of the FBI--in coordination with the Compact Council-- should determine why states do not comply with the requirement to notify applicants and use this information to revise its state educational programs accordingly.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Federal Bureau of Investigation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Stephen L. Caldwell
    Phone: (202) 512-9610

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that efforts to counter piracy and maritime crime are coordinated and prioritized to effectively address the evolving threat, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, in collaboration with the Secretaries of Defense and State, should work through the Counter-Piracy Steering Group or otherwise collaborate with the Secretaries of Homeland Security, Transportation, and the Treasury, and the Attorney General to determine whether additional actions to address counterpiracy and maritime security, such as developing an action plan that includes elements of a strategic approach, are needed to guide and coordinate activities.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2014, the Executive Office of the President issued the United States Counter Piracy and Maritime Security Action Plan, which includes an annex specific to activities in and around the Gulf of Guinea. While the plan outlines some of the planned indicators of effectiveness for activities in and around the Gulf of Guinea, the extent to which the agencies have assessed or plan to assess costs and benefits are not explicitly addressed. The plan states that the Counter Piracy Steering Group will coordinate, implement, and monitor the objectives outlined in the plan and will assess methods and agency activities to reduce risk and protect the maritime industry from acts of piracy and related maritime crime. The plan identifies an increase in investigating and prosecuting cases and a reduction in the trend of piracy and related maritime crime as tangible indicators of successful implementation of the plan. However, GAO's past work on piracy off the Horn of Africa recommended that, as part of a strategic approach, agencies (1) identify the costs of U.S. counterpiracy efforts including operational, support, and personnel costs; and (2) assess the benefits, and effectiveness of U.S. counterpiracy activities. The 2014 plan and its Gulf of Guinea annex do not include a discussion of these elements of a strategic approach. In August 2017, neither the Department of Defense nor the Department of State (the co-chairs of the Counter Piracy Steering Group) provided an update on the extent to which they have collectively or individually addressed the assessment of costs and benefits for activities in and around the Gulf of Guinea. Including these elements in the plan can help assess the effectiveness of current efforts, prioritize future efforts, and leverage resources. GAO will continue to monitor progress in this area.